Worker Owned Academy

Next one: May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. PST
All six days: $60 (scholarships available)

In our Worker Owned Academy, people who are serious about starting a cooperative take skill-building classes that initiate your planning and development process. Scroll down for a Course Overview.

Qualified groups who complete the Academy may be selected to enter into our Worker Owned Incubator for one-on-one business development support.

The Academy is supported by the North Coast Small Business Development Center, and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, which provides curriculum, peer support, mentorship, and legal support. 

Course Overview
Session 1 – Introduction to Cooperatives

This session focuses on what a co-op is, what makes them different from other businesses, and what is the same. Special attention is on the participants introducing the business ideas, giving feedback and answering questions and worries.

Session 2 – Process of Starting a Cooperative

This session focuses on the process of starting a co-op; what do you need to do before you incorporate your business: Start with an idea, Form a Team/Steering Committee, Make a Business plan and a Feasibility study, and Decide on bylaws and legal structure for the business.

Session 3 – Working in a Co-op Development Team: Facilitation and Consensus

This session focuses on the work in a Co-op Development Team with special emphasis on facilitation and consensus decision making.

Session 4 –  Decision Making Structures and Meeting Dynamics

This session focuses on different decision-making structures and the power distribution in a development team and a larger cooperative. We also look at agendas and notetaking for effective meetings.

Session 5 – Financing and Funding

This session focuses on the money; how to plan for it, how to distribute it, how to get hold of it. Based on what is called the patronage dividend, or how to share the surplus, we will touch upon investors, lenders, community support, as will basic budgeting and cashflow.

Session 6 – Governance and Next steps

This session focuses on the governance of a co-op (Bylaws and Operating Agreements), legal structures (Cooperative Corporation and LLC), and the concrete steps you will have to take after the Academy to actually incorporate your cooperative.